n. pl. gen·ius·es
a. Extraordinary intellectual and creative power: artistic works of genius.
b. A person of extraordinary intellect and talent.
c. A person who has an exceptionally high intelligence quotient, typically above 140.
a. A strong natural talent, aptitude, or inclination: has a genius for choosing the right words.
b. One who has such a talent or inclination: a genius at diplomacy.
3. The prevailing spirit or distinctive character, as of a place, a person, or an era: the genius of Elizabethan England.
4. pl. ge·ni·i (jēnē-ī′) Roman Mythology A tutelary deity or guardian spirit of a person or place.
[Middle English, guardian spirit, from Latin; see genə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.